Medium to High Density Housing Summit

Registration now closed

Live Stream

April 1st-2nd, 2020

Urbanisation and population growth have fuelled the need to rethink the ‘quarter acre dream’ for New Zealanders in our largest cities. Medium and increasingly high-density housing provides an innovative solution to the increasing space issues faced by cities.

Bringing together the leaders and influencers, the 2020 summit will explore how smaller, sustainable smartly designed homes, with community living within shared spaces, are the future of New Zealand’s cities.


Influential and inspiring speakers.


Delivered via live streaming over two days, this diverse and thought-provoking discussion covering urban design best practices, wellbeing and community living, cohousing density to acoustic considerations and much more. International medium and high-density design projects, from China to Australia as well as local examples will be discussed.

  • 01 April
  • 02 April


Get in contact

If there is anything you want to know about the Summit please contact Jo Woodage, Events Manager by email or phone 03 358 0112.

Live Streaming

We've partnered with Teulo, a professional live streaming video platform specifically for the architecture, design and building industry. Once registered and prior to the start of the online streaming, registered people well receive an email with details on how to join the live stream event.

View system requirements or instructions here, provided by Teulo

Who should attend?

If you have an interest in the future of New Zealand’s housing, then this is an essential summit to be a part of. In particular this is a must attend event for investors, developers, architects, architectural designers, architectural students and urban planners.

Continuous Professional Development (CPD)

Attending this summit will attract 14 ADNZ CPD points and 80 NZRAB points.


Hear from our innovative architectural and construction industry exhibitors.

Event App

Download the official event app for the latest programme and speaker information.

Michael Bishop

Senior Policy Adviser
NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces
Michael is an urban planner and policy maker with experience in housing and infrastructure policy working in Commonwealth and State government and in private practice. Michael also teaches urban policy in the Bachelor of City Planning programme at the University of New South Wales.

02 April

Dr Natalie Allen

The Urban Advisory
Natalie specialises in delivering implementable and innovative urban strategy. She is a director of The Urban Advisory; an urban innovation studio that is working to rethink what we know about cities and the way we live in them. Natalie has a background in architecture and urban design and regularly publishes and speaks about her work across New Zealand. As a doctoral scholar, Natalie’s research was focussed on the relationship between delivering urban intensification in suburbia and maintaining or enhancing the liveability experienced by residents. She now incorporates this expertise into her work with Developers, Councils, Community Groups and Central and Local Government to ensure the delivery of neighbourhoods, not just houses. Natalie is passionate about seeing more diverse solutions being added to New Zealand’s housing stock and advocates for a broader ecosystem of housing models in New Zealand.

01 April

Jason Twill

Urban Apostles
With a career spanning over 20 years’ in urban development, Jason has been at the forefront of built environment transformation. A globally recognised pioneer in innovation districts, community-led housing and regenerative design, Jason’s work is informing the next generation of city making.

His career experience includes mixed-use developments throughout New York City, the South Lake Union Innovation District in Seattle and serving as Head of Sustainability and innovation for Lendlease.

As Director of Urban Apostles, Jason leads a real estate consulting and development firm specialising in equitable and regenerative growth strategies for cities.

He is a co-founder of both the International Living Future Institute and the Green Sports Alliance and served as a climate change policy advisor to both the Obama Administration and the Clinton Global Initiative.

In 2018, Jason founded and launched the City Makers’ Guild, an education, advocacy and research group promoting more equitable and inclusive cities.

01 April

Pete Bossley

Architect & Director
Bossley Architects
BArch (Hons), NZCD (Arch), Registered Architect (NZ), Fellow NZIA, RAIA, NZIA Gold Medal 2012, Alliance Partner Group GSA, Chair NZIA Auckland 2006-2008

Pete has an extensive reputation in architecture and interior design, with particular experience in galleries and museums, residential and retail. He was the joint principal responsible for design and documentation of the architecture of the national Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington, whilst a Director at Jasmax, including interior design of all public and work spaces.

Pete is currently involved in the design and construction of the 200-room Park Hyatt Hotel in Auckland, a 400-apartment complex in Wynyard Quarter, the Plant and Food Research head office in Auckland, multiple medium density projects for the Housing New Zealand Corporation and at Hobsonville Point, and many large and small houses around the country. He is involved as a concept designer in all projects in the practice and his work has received numerous architectural awards.

Pete was awarded the NZIA Gold Medal in 2012, the highest honour in New Zealand Architecture. He has exhibited and lectured extensively on his work here and overseas, including Tokyo, Vancouver, Santiago, and Australia. He has also taught architectural design for over 25 years, and was Adjunct Professor of Architecture at Unitec Architecture and Landscape School.

Pete has recently published a book entitled One Year Drawn, about drawing and travelling. He also paints abstracts when he can find the time. His architectural work has been published in a wide variety of NZ and international publications, and a book of the practice was published in the A4 Monograph Series.

As well as the satisfaction of receiving so many awards from his architectural peers, one of the most gratifying aspects of his career is the long list of clients who have returned to commission more than one project.

02 April

Scott Cracknell

Context Architects
As the leader of Context Architect’s residential team, Scott works with local and international developers and landowners to bring excellent design and commercial principles to large-scale, complex masterplans and mixed-use developments. Scott is passionate about density done well and sustainability, and about the potential of both to contribute positively to New Zealand’s built environment.

02 April

Rachel Venables

Context Architects
Rachel has an extensive background in residential architecture and is a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Architects.

Before joining Context she ran her own practice and now leads delivery of strategic social housing projects including an initiative with Kāinga Ora to transform the future of state housing. Rachel believes that beautiful, sustainable design reduces urban sprawl and delivers high quality living for more people.

01 April

Verney Ryan

Co-leader and Lead Researcher
Beacon Pathway
Verney Ryan is a co-leader and lead researcher for Beacon Pathway and has a broad background in urban planning, sustainable development, energy efficiency, renewable energy and environmental resource management.

Verney leads a range of applied research and demonstration projects for Beacon. Recently, he led a team to develop a framework and assessment tools to guide good practice medium density housing in New Zealand. These are being applied and further refined in ongoing assessments of a range of medium density developments in Auckland and Christchurch. Verney has also worked extensively on projects to identify good practice in sustainable and more affordable housing, both new build and retrofit.

02 April

Michael James

Managing Director
Origin Fire Consultants Ltd
Michael has a Masters degree in Fire Engineering from the University of Canterbury and over 20 years experience as a consulting fire engineer. ‘Solving the unsolvable’ is what drives him.

Michael specialises in building designs using first principles as opposed to the cook book prescriptive approach and he believes the process of creative collaboration leads to the best solution.This is particularly evident in the experienced and talented team that Michael has built.

His awareness that fire engineering impacts on all building design disciplines (architecture, structural, mechanical and electrical engineering) underpins a collaborative Origin team ethos to produce the best design outcomes. Michael knows that engaging with experts in each of these disciplines and applying first principles, means Origin Fire is able to achieve fire protection outcomes that contribute to achieving the overall vision of every project.

Michael is a leader within the industry. He is often the ‘go to’ person for opinion and media comment. As President of the New Zealand chapter of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers Michael is well placed to be ahead of industry issues and directions, and he a sought after speaker in New Zealand and internationally.

Michael is also engaged as an expert witness for defective fire rating and fire protection systems.

02 April

David Falconer

Team Leader - City Planning
Christchurch City Council
David is the Team Leader City Planning at the CCC and has worked at the Council for over ten years, through the earthquakes, Port Hills fire and more recently the mosque attacks. He is leading a team monitoring and planning for growth across the city, including reviewing the District Plan provisions in the medium and high density areas.

01 April

Ben van Bruggen

Manager Urban Design Strategy
Auckland City Council
Ben van Bruggen is the Urban Design Strategy Manager for Auckland Council. He's an urban planner, designer and urbanist with 25 years experience working in the public and private sectors in the UK and internationally.

Auckland is growing and evolving. Ben’s role is to inspire, enable and celebrate great design outcomes for Tāmaki Makaurau.

Ben joined the Auckland Design Office from the UK in 2017 where he is the founding director of van Bruggen Limited, an urbanism consultancy, based in London, UK. It was set up in 2012 to provide advice to clients on urban planning, urban design and architectural aspects of projects, including townscape and heritage assessments and design review services.

Before setting up van Bruggen Limited, Ben was Head of Urban Design at Savills, an international multi-disciplinary property firm. He was involved in leading urbanism projects in China, Russia and Montenegro as well as in the UK.

Ben was also Senior Design Review Advisor to the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) in the UK where he was responsible for leading CABE’s Design Review work. Ben has been involved in design review work for 18 years and is a leading practitioner and advisor to the industry and government on urban design.

01 April

Greg Young

Managing Director
Young Architects
Greg’s experience is unconventional in the industry, and though he is a New Zealand Registered Architect, he started his career working for structural engineers. This has given Greg a great understanding of the structure within the architecture as well as the importance of aesthetics. Greg has had his own architectural practice in Christchurch for 15 years, and has a small team of five designers. His architectural influences are varied and continual, working on commissions in many traditional and modernist styles, while paying close attention to the local vernacular and environment to ensure their context is relevant. Greg has won many architecture awards over his 25 year career, from the NZIA, ADNZ and Property Council. He was also awarded a Civic Award by Christchurch City Council for undertaking acts of kindness, service or heroism during the earthquakes. As an architect, Greg’s primary focus is to improve the quality of peoples lives through the built environment. Greg believes there is beauty in simplicity and proportion, and this is seen in his architecture.

01 April

Tim Gittos

Spacecraft Architects
Tim is committed to high quality, affordable architecture and believes this to be a community good. Tim’s recent experience running the client engagement, design and coordination for multi-unit co-housing projects has drawn on his excellent communication and representation skills to enable the smooth running of the projects. Further to his work at Spacecraft, Tim has driven various community projects including the Sanheimedhu Classroom in South India and the design and construction of the ‘Dogbox’. Prior to forming Spacecraft Tim worked in respected Wellington practice Melling:Morse Architects at a variety of scales on projects which were acclaimed for a focus on affordable, high quality architecture.

01 April

Caro Robertson

Spacecraft Architects
Caro’s work evidences her belief in the influence of quality architecture and its ability to enrich and support daily life. Prior to forming Spacecraft, Caro draws experience from her work on cost-effective construction methodologies at Assembly Architects and various multi-unit residential projects with Powell Tuck Associates and Burrell Foley Fisher in London, which required coordination of complex services, engineering and fire management strategies.

01 April

Thom Gill

Studio Nord
After graduating from Auckland Architecture School and completing his professional registration in Auckland in 1998, Thom headed for London.

For 8 years he was fortunate to work for the award-winning offices Allies & Morrison and Haworth Tompkins on a variety of arts projects culminating in the extensive refurbishment of the National Theatre Studio.

Thom met fellow architect Helle Westergaard in London and in 2006 they moved to her home town Copenhagen. After a first year of learning Danish Thom worked and lived as an architect in Copenhagen for 4 years, including a couple of tours in Beijing.

Thom returned to New Zealand in 2012 and worked for Jasmax Architects on the Christchurch rebuild and soon after co-founded Studio Nord with Helle. Studio Nord has completed a number of private residential projects and for the last 3 years has been occupied with the Cohaus project.

02 April

Altus Windows

APL Window Solutions

Resene Construction Systems

Roofing Industries

Welcome from ADNZ

09:00 AM 09:10 AM

Greg Watts, ADNZ's CEO, will welcome attendees and officially open the 2020 Medium to High Density Housing Summit.

Housing Affordability: No gain without pain

09:10 AM 09:50 AM

Over the past few years Christchurch has been one of the most relatively affordable cities for housing in New Zealand, with house prices being quite stable, compared to other parts of the country.

The increase in the amount of medium density development in the city has contributed to keeping house prices stable, but it has not been without its challenges. There are good lessons to be learnt from this increase in medium density development.


Medium Density: Lessons Learned from Auckland mid-rise apartment developments

09:50 AM 10:30 AM

Ben will discuss how the Auckland City Council is responding to the issues and challenges raised by higher densities as well as the opportunities and how this is communicated. Ben will share lessons learnt from mid-rise medium density apartment buildings in Auckland.



10:30 AM 11:00 AM

Case study – The Dorset Street Flats and 448 Hereford

11:00 AM 11:40 AM

Greg will be presenting his Dorset Street Flats project, a Category 1 Heritage listed building designed by Sir Miles Warren that is currently being seismically upgrading and restoring. A block of eight flats designed in the 1950’s in inner city Christchurch, these flats “launched an architectural vocabulary that would come to distinguish the 'Christchurch School' of post-war architecture and also helped to shape modernist architectural design nationally for over two decades.”

Along with his Dorset project, Greg will share his award winning Hereford project. A block of four flats in inner city Christchurch recently completed, which share a similar language to the Dorset Street Flats, in a modern context.


Making Medium Density Work - Design & Delivery Principles for Transforming Housing in NZ

11:40 AM 12:30 PM

Context Architects’ Scott Cracknell and Rachel Venables take us through the science and art of taking a medium density development from good to great.

They’ll share with us the design and planning principles that create great places for people to live well. As well as examples from Context’s own work and successful international ideas, they’ll show how innovations including BIM, Virtual Reality and parametric design as well as consenting tools like MultiProof can improve certainty and delivery.


Lunch Break

12:30 PM 01:00 PM

Housing for Wellbeing and the Role of the Neighbourhood

01:00 PM 01:55 PM

This session frames the ‘Housing for Wellbeing’ context emerging in New Zealand and explores the opportunities that exist to diversify our housing ecosystem, so that there is a greater range of options that better suit the needs of New Zealander’s today and in the future. Drawing on global case studies from two study tours, Natalie will talk about how different models around the world are changing what it means to own a home and how this relates to our changing housing preferences. Characterised by greater resident involvement, not-for-profit financial models, democratic governance and enhanced sustainability – these models include cohousing, cooperative housing and community land trusts – and provide a mechanism for New Zealand’s suburbs to intensify in a more inclusive and equitable way.


Designing What People Want: Architectural Excellence Through Community-led Housing

01:55 PM 02:40 PM

Community-led housing is on the rise across the world. These citizen-involved models are disrupting traditional approaches to apartment developments and providing a means for more equitable, sustainable and socially dynamic housing. Having the ability to engage directly with future residence in designing a community, architects are tapping into new potential and reimagining the future of urban living.

From urban cohousing in Vienna and housing cooperatives in Zurich. to community land trusts in London and Nightingale Housing in Melbourne, Jason’s talk will take us on a journey around the world’s cities with examples of how these community-led models are changing urban landscapes and setting new exemplars for architectural design excellence.



02:40 PM 03:00 PM

Cohousing Gets Dense

03:00 PM 03:55 PM

A recent focus on cohousing work has enabled Spacecraft Architecture to implement ideas around how to do density better and keep people as central figures in the shaping of the city.

Historical precedents of resident led housing in NZ, while an excellent response to the times, now feels very suburban in nature. Newer cohousing developments, better connected and closer to the city, offer a viable alternative to developer driven models of housing supply as NZ seeks to address the much-vaunted Housing Crisis.

As cohousing has no developer profit margin, future residents are able to expect a higher quality of housing for a similar price to what it offered by the market - and more input into the priorities that shape the design.


Summit concludes for the day.

03:55 PM 04:00 PM

Medium Density Housing Versus Single Dwelling Fire Safety. Which is Safer?

09:35 AM 10:15 AM

There is a lot of historical data on the fire safety provided in standalone houses. As we move more of our population into medium density housing are the risks increased as we all live closer together or does the Building Code adequately address these fire safety risks.

Michael will examine the fire safety pluses and minuses that are accumulated in our move to medium density housing.



10:20 AM 10:40 AM

Delivering the Housing We Want: Lessons From Delivering Missing Middle Housing in NSW

10:40 AM 11:40 AM

NSW is facing unprecedented growth with at least 725,000 new homes needed in Greater Sydney by 2036. Although strong economic growth and major infrastructure investment is driving record levels of new housing, there is a perception that Sydney’s growth is bifurcated between high density in centres and suburban stasis.

Since 2015 the NSW Government has been working with local government to make it easier to develop missing middle housing in suburban areas we know people want like terraces, town houses, dual occupancies, and manor homes. Through the policy process, lessons have been learnt on aligning strategic planning with housing policy, achieving good design outcomes, fostering community support, and setting the right approval pathways.


Considered Design Adds Value

11:40 AM 12:20 PM

Urban designer and placemaker Heather Blewett takes a ‘typical’ developer medium density response and shows how applying good design can create the same or improved yields and better design outcomes. She explains how a more considered response adds value, not cost.


Lunch Break

12:20 PM 01:00 PM

The Ups and Downs and Experiences with the Surrey Cohaus Project

01:00 PM 01:45 PM

Thom Gill and Helle Westergaard are partners at Studio Nord architects and drew on their personal and professional experiences living in urban housing in London and Copenhagen for the design of the Cohaus project.

Cohaus began when they met David Welch and Georgianne Griffith through mutual friends and decided to collaborate on a housing project for themselves and their friends to occupy in Central Auckland. After several years of false starts, near-misses on purchasing sites, a complex and public resource consent process, and battling ever-rising building costs, Cohaus is now rising out of the ground on a large site in Grey Lynn with 20 units ranging in size from a studio to a 5 bedroom terrace. 19 households have bought in to Cohaus are sharing the development risk.

The architecture of Cohaus draws on European models of quality medium density housing while the financial and ownership structure had to be created from scratch for the New Zealand situation.


Optimising Outcomes: Assessing Medium Density

01:45 PM 02:25 PM

When done well, medium density can provide quality, affordable and sustainable housing and liveable communities.

Recently developed medium density housing assessment tools are helping to identify what good practice medium density looks like and how it works for the residents living there. The process provides post occupancy evaluation from residents that assists developers, designers, government and industry, as well as the wider communities impacted by medium density housing.

Verney Ryan, Co-leader of Beacon Pathway will outline some of the key aspects of successful medium density drawn from a series of case study assessments undertaken for New Zealand developers and local authority urban planning teams.



02:25 PM 02:45 PM

High Density Housing and the Shanghai Apartments Project

02:45 PM 03:40 PM

Pete will discuss issues and ideas around more dense living, considering projects by Bossley Architects and others. These will range from a high density concept of 4,000 apartments for Shanghai based on ideas of striations and meandering landforms, to medium density examples in Auckland and Queenstown, including multi-generational guidelines prepared with Nagati Whatua for the Orakei headland.


Close of Summit

03:40 PM 03:45 PM

ADNZ CEO Greg Watts address for close of the summit.